Ephesians, Lesson #5b

Prayer

Let’s continue on with our study of the prayer of Paul in the first chapter of Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:19b-20   – …according to the working of his great might, that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

What do you picture when you read this?  Do you picture God on a magnificent throne with Jesus sitting on another throne at his right side?  What if I told you that mental picture may not be entirely accurate?

Here on earth, in bygone days, it was the highest honor to be seated at the right hand of the king or the right hand of a prince. Hence, our mental picture of two side-by-side thrones.  However, what the phrase truly signifies is someone who is in a position of supreme honor.  It is entirely possible (and many scholars say probable) that the right hand of God is not a particular place and Jesus is not sitting there as we think in the natural realm.  Rather, the phrase is used to give earthly men an understandable picture of the honor, respect, dignity and authority that has been bestowed on Jesus. 

Let’s examine some of the finer points involved in the exaltation of Jesus. We know that Satan did not take Jesus’ life from him; Jesus willingly laid it down for us of his own accord.

John 10:17 & 18 – For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes is from me, but I lay it down o my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.  This is the charge I have received from my Father.

  Once his sacrifice was complete, Jesus was raised from the dead by the immeasurable greatness of God’s power, mentioned in verse 19.  His resurrection took him from the deepest humiliation of hell to the highest honor of heaven.  The scripture tells us that the announcement of Jesus’ earthly birth was accompanied by “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:13-14).  If heaven was so excited at the prospect of Jesus’ sacrifice and temporary humiliation, can you imagine how it rocked with his praise when God’s immeasurable power raised him from the dead and brought him home to heaven?  

Jesus’ resurrection is a miracle.  It is incontestable evidence of the truth of Christianity.  It is the basis of our assurance that his blood cleanses us from sin. The power of God not only converts us from Satan’s slaves to co-heirs with Christ, it carries on the work of grace until we are called home to heaven.  His power is supreme; therefore, his power is greater than any force that might try to stop the work of grace in our lives.  His power is greater than Satan, the world, sin, death and our own failures. His power never runs out; it extends through all eternity.  His power works in us by the mighty Holy Spirit.  Oh, that we would willingly give the Spirit control in our lives!

We have already mentioned that Jesus now occupies the position of supreme honor, respect and dignity in heaven.  Paul also tells us that ultimate authority has been bestowed upon him.

Ephesians 1:21 – …far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. 

The phrase ‘rule and authority and power and dominion’ is intended to include all possible forms of power, including things in heaven, things in earth and things under the earth (Philippians 2:10-11).  This would cover all the governments of the earth, the authority of Satan and all angelic beings whether good or evil.  Not even the collective authority of all these could come anywhere near the authority of the Son of God; his authority is FAR above them.  This state of ultimate authority will never end.  It is true in this age and will be true in eternity.  The name of Jesus is above every other name that will ever be named.  

Ephesians 1:22-23 – And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body; the fullness of him who fills all in all.

What does it mean to have all things under his feet?  Our first thought would be a victorious king who actually put his foot on the necks of his defeated enemies.  But the apostle’s language goes deeper than just that.  It includes the whole of creation and all that is found in it; not just earth but all of the universe.  This means that all of creation is at his disposal to use as he sees fit, regardless of whether it/they submit willingly or unwillingly.

God has also honored Jesus by making him the head of the church, which is his body.  This is a common theme throughout the New Testament scriptures.

And so Paul enumerates for us four of the glories of Christ:

  • His resurrection.
  • His exaltation to God’s right hand.
  • His supreme dominion.
  • His headship of the church, his body, which is filled with his fullness. 

These glories were all obtained by his death on the cross.  Clearly, he abased himself that he might be exalted.

  Hebrews 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

In conclusion, we find that Paul prays that each individual believer might have his/her spiritual eyes opened so that we can begin to perceive the incredible hope we have in Christ, the eternal unmatched riches of our inheritance in him, and the immeasurable greatness of his power towards us who believe.

If our eyes were truly opened to these truths, it would affect the way we think, talk and live.  It would influence the way we treat our fellow man, how we spend our time and what we do with our money.

Are you willing to take a step towards spiritual maturity?  Do you desire to know Christ in a deeper more intimate way?  Can you pray this prayer for yourself, until you notice a change?

What are your thoughts on this prayer?  How does the hope of a future with Christ give you strength in this life? Have you seen a demonstration of God’s incredible power in your life?  Please write in and share your thoughts and experiences with us, so that others may be encouraged! 

Thank you for studying with us!

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